ByBrian Finamore, writer at Creators.co
I like to watch...(cinemainsiders.com). Reach me at @MovieFinn @CinemaInsiders
Brian Finamore

***OBVIOUSLY MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW***

Video: SPUTNIK 1 CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORT ON TV, October 6 1957

Video: On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would land men on the moon.


INTERSTELLAR: An Ambitious Sci-Fi Epic, Both Remarkable and Unwieldy

Note: I am not assigning a star rating to Interstellar, because frankly, I can't think of one, and I don't want to categorize this particular film based on the number of stars.

It's now been nearly half a day since I saw Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, last night at 9 PM, to be exact. The theater was full, the mood was good, seemed like this audience was ready to be blown away. 169 minutes later (not counting the seemingly unlimited trailers), that same audience came out of the film with a rather muted response. Not that audience applause after a movie in the movie theater seems almost extinct nowadays (sadly the closest thing you'll get to audience participation is the hideous behavior at PG-13 horror films), but when I've seen them happen, they tend to be at showings I was at last night, the first crop of the public to see the film.

I merely mention the audience reaction because this is now the sixth Christopher Nolan film I've seen in theaters (Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), and all those films I saw with a packed house, normally at the first screening that was available through wide release, the reaction to Interstellar was by far the most muted. However, while critical response to the film has been positive, but the lowest rated Rotten Tomatoes score on Christopher Nolan's filmography, the audience response seems to overall be really positive. I gave my initial reactions to the film at around 3:30 AM. Overall, my initial reaction was positive, while acknowledging the film had flaws.

The Los Angeles Times reported, "Film critics largely agree that 'Interstellar' is an entertaining, emotional and thought-provoking sci-fi saga, even if it can also be clunky and sentimental at times."

One can't help but notice how disappointed film critic Mark Kermode (a HUGE Nolan fan) is, even though, by and large, he was enthralled by the film. It almost hurts to have to admit to the flaws of Interstellar, and there are quite a few, but then again, certain films you can love while acknowledging its flaws. I suppose the idea of what a viewer or film critic sees as a flaw is in most ways subjective, and also academically based, steeped in film school talking points about how a particular screenplay should be written, or how a proper film should be made. I acknowledge this form of criticism, and both accept and reject it.

The film is very much like a Nolan film, and nothing at all like one. In the end this film is about a father and a daughter relationship, and Nolan's films in the end have consistently been about those same things. Inception is about someone getting back to his kids, he's lost his wife, etc. The same is true of his incarnation of Batman, a lost father theme. The main emotional crux of [Interstellar](movie:813746) is the relationship Cooper has with Murph. Cooper agrees to try to save the world for humanity because his daughter is a part of that future. Everything else around or about the film, both plot wise and scientific wise, HAS to revolve around that main emotional story of the father and daughter.

Video: Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members: Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee; and destroyed the Command Module

This decision by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan is why the film is the most ambitious film Nolan has done. People tend to approach a Christopher Nolan film like a Stanley Kubrick or David Fincher film, a sort of cold detachment. Up until Interstellar I would agree with that, but Nolan, while owing a debt to Kubrick's 2001, is more Steven Spielberg via A. I.: Artificial Intelligence, and perhaps the film Interstellar is most like, is a Robert Zemeckis film, Contact (1997), also starring Matthew McConaughey.

The Grapes Of Wrath, The Abyss, The Right Stuff, Contact, A.I., An Inconvenient Truth, and Gravity are more what Nolan's Interstellar is in the vein of.

To illustrate how not like Kubrick Interstellar is, here's an excellent trailer, recently made by Cut, Print, Film, who have taken things one step further by producing 2001: An Interstellar Space Odyssey, a mashup trailer that combines footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey with audio from Interstellar.

Nolan compared Interstellar to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), as a film about human nature. He also sought to emulate films like Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

"When you say you're making a family film," he said, "it has all these pejorative connotations that it'll be somehow soft. But when I was a kid, these were family films in the best sense, and they were as edgy and incisive and challenging as anything else on the blockbuster spectrum. I wanted to bring that back in some way."

He also cited the space drama The Right Stuff (1983) as an example to follow, and screened it for the crew before production. To emulate that film, he sought to capture reflection on the Interstellar astronauts' visors. For further inspiration grounded in real-world space travel, the director also invited former astronaut Marsha Ivins to the set.

So, that being said, there are times, when the science and the sentimentality, and the silliness work hand in hand, however, there are those times when the sentimentality and silliness overtake the science, and that's not good. The final fifteen minutes of the film will put even the most loyal of Nolan fans to the test. The sentimentality and silliness are laid on pretty thick by Nolan.

I don't want this to sound like a negative review, there are things about the film that are simply incredible. Nolan, a champion of shooting on film, is one of the few filmmakers left with faith in the power of the image. The film looks fucking gorgeous. You're reminded of a time back in the days of Gone With the Wind (1939), to Ben Hur (1959), in that Interstellar is made purely with the power of cinematic spectacle. In other words, it's a film you'll pay that overpaid ticket price for, and feel like you've come out seeing something that was so unique to the movie theater going experience.

Keep in mind, Christopher Nolan has blended emotional elements and sci-fi fantasy elements with brilliance before, in films like Memento, The Prestige, and Inception. Indeed, Interstellar has some brilliant scenes of emotion as well, especially in the beginning of the film, when Cooper has to explain to his daughter, played in a young age by the wonderful, 13 year old Mackenzie Foy (quite impressive), that he has to go on this mission and risk never seeing her again. Murph is quite hurt by this, and it's truly heartbreaking when Cooper leaves not being on good terms with his daughter. Emotional moments like that in the film are BRILLIANT.

However, Interstellar, isn't as rigorous to the balance of emotion and science as those previously mentioned films. This means the film essentially succumbs to its own sentimentality, and depending upon how YOU look at the film, that can be a flaw, which it is in my case. The dialogue at times is very clunky, filled with exposition, yet there's several bizarre passages, meant to show emotion, that don't work at all.

Video: CBS Television coverage of the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, anchored by legendary newscaster Walter Cronkite.

The Sci-Fi plot points have been hit on by Nolan before as well. As with Inception, Interstellar has a time on the planet is slower than on Earth kind of feel. Now, of course, this is an actual scientific theory, so at least we're dealing with intriguing stuff here. It's interesting, because I guess my main complaint about the film is the opposite of what the main complaint levied against Inception, not enough science.

I also really like the way in which Nolan sets up in the near future. Although the film is careful not to identify a year, it's probably around 2050. The world has fallen victim to famine caused by overpopulation and a blight that is killing crops and creating massive dust storms. With nitrogen on the rise in the atmosphere, total asphyxiation is the inevitable endgame. Earth as a bastion of humanity is doomed. Also, in a very poignant scene, we see Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper speaking to a school official on a troublesome textbook that his daughter was reading in class, which goes against the country’s now-staunch belief that the Apollo moon landing was a hoax (echoing the great 1978 film Capricorn One). McConaughey gets riled up, relaying an affecting story regarding his late wife.

The film is nearly three hours, but there's enough story here for something a lot longer. In condensing it, Nolan has made something 169 minutes in length that breezes by faster than many productions half its length. He accomplishes this by establishing a blistering pace during Interstellar's meatier sections, including expert crosscutting between Earth and space during a powerful "fire and ice" sequence.

I can't deny that there's more good things in Interstellar than bad, and the good stuff is so awe inspiring, I can safely say I forgive Nolan's "flaws". The spectacle means something. Nolan's approach DOES connect with you on an emotional level, sometimes the emotion is awe, but it's fundamentally about family, which runs all throughout a lot of Nolan films. It's when the sentimentality becomes contrived, that the film becomes troubling. I'm sure when you pick apart the plot (as I do below), not all of it holds up on a logical level, but emotionally it does make sense.

Where Nolan takes his big leap is in trying to invest his wannabe magnum opus with an elemental human emotion, that between parent and child; it’s a genre graft that has intriguing wrinkles but remains imperfect.

Interstellar might be too flawed to be Nolan's best film, but from a sheer cinematic spectacle, both visually, and discussing the film's plot and meaning. There's enough in the film that works on a cinematic level to overcome the flaws. While personally, the plot didn't go quite where I'd have liked it to go, I got so much else from the film, especially from its imagery.

The movie seems to posit that humanity is at our best when we throw ourselves passionately into the unknown, in search of love and discovery.

Very cool fan made poster of Interstellar
Very cool fan made poster of Interstellar

Video: A look at CNN's live broadcast of the Challenger shuttle launch on January 28, 1986.

Video: The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it reentered Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.


Hans Zimmer's Score

A big part of the film’s appeal is the composer Hans Zimmer‘s score. Zimmer has been working with Nolan for years, but here they come up with something unlike anything we’ve heard from them before. It’s ethereal and driving and almost religious, it’s the opposite of Inception.

In a recent interview with Collider, Zimmer said:

Here’s the thing, we spent a long time working with each other. In Batman Begins we came up with a sound that spread like a virus over all of his other movies. The driving drums and driving string figures. The first thing we said was, “let’s not do that anymore.” We wanted to widen our palette. Let’s do things we’ve never done before. Let’s go get a crazy large woodwind section. We’re doing a new movie, we’re starting fresh. Let’s switch up the vocabulary. We didn’t want to betray the past 10 years worth of work we’ve done, but at the same time we had to ask, “aren’t we bored?” Chris gave me a watch and on the back of the watch it said, "this is not a time for caution."

This score is pretty top notch Hans Zimmer and it definitely plays a big part of the epicness of the film. Like the film itself, perhaps it's grasp reaches too far, but I had no complaints overall.

Let's go through the rundown of plot spoilers...

(Explanation and analysis based on Screen Rant's article on the film)

In the near future, the earth is no longer able to sustain humanity. Crops are routinely ravaged by blight, dust storms scour the land, and mankind has regressed to a stateless, agrarian society. Cooper, a former NASA test pilot and engineer turned farmer lives with his family, including his father-in-law Donald, son Tom, and ten year-old daughter Murphy — better known as "Murph"— who believes their house is haunted by a ghost that is trying to communicate to her. Challenging Murph to prove the ghost's existence through scientific inquiry, Cooper discovers that the "ghost" is an unknown form of intelligence sending them coded messages by means of gravitational waves altering the dust on the floor, directing them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor Brand.

Brand reveals to Cooper that a miraculously formed wormhole has been discovered in the solar system past Saturn, and that humanity's only chance for survival is to traverse through the wormhole to colonize new worlds in another galaxy. Cooper is recruited to pilot Endurance, an experimental spacecraft, to follow the Lazarus Mission, a series of manned probes sent through the wormhole to survey potential planets as to their long-term sustainability. The data from Lazarus has given NASA three potential habitable planets: Miller, Edmunds and Mann, named for the astronauts who carried out the surveys. Once the viability has been confirmed, humanity will follow aboard the NASA facility, which is an enormous space station.

Human Salvation

Jessica Chastain as the adult Murph
Jessica Chastain as the adult Murph

Early on in the film, we learn that the US government is secretly funding a NASA project to find humankind a new home, since Earth is being ravaged by blight (and can no longer sustain agriculture). Cooper questions how NASA intends to find a planet capable of sustaining human life for humanity is already living on borrowed time, and transport to the nearest galaxy alone would take decades. Professor Brand (Michael Caine) then reveals that an unknown civilization, which he refers to as “They” (Oh boy,more on them later), have strategically created a wormhole near Saturn, a wormhole that can serve as a shortcut to a distant region of space.

Cooper's decision to join Endurance breaks Murph's heart, and the two part on bad terms. He joins Brand's daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), physicist Rommily (David Gyasi), geographer Doyle (Wes Bentley), and multi-purpose robots designated CASE and TARS (who are awesome) on a two-year spaceflight to the wormhole before crossing over into the new galaxy. While traversing the wormhole, Amelia encounters an extra-dimensional presence that she believes has created the wormhole to save humanity.

As explained by Romilly in his impromptu paper hole example, our understanding of distance is based in three-dimensions, whereas theoretical physics suggests that space is a place of multi-dimensional interplay.

For that reason, the wormhole essentially functions as a bridge connecting two points in space by taking advantage of imperceptible fourth dimensional space (Romilly’s paper folding). By the time that Cooper reunites with Prof. Brand, NASA has already sent thirteen humans through the wormhole, each one on a mission to determine whether nearby planets (on the other side of the wormhole) can sustain human life.

Upon arrival at their planet, each of the astronauts was to set up a beacon, indicating that their planet was a candidate for human colonization. NASA cannot communicate directly with the astronauts, but has been able to track their beacons for nearly a decade, of which only three remain active. The data from Lazarus has given NASA three potential habitable planets: Miller, Edmunds and Mann, named for the astronauts who carried out the surveys. Once the viability has been confirmed, humanity will follow aboard the NASA facility, which is an enormous space station.

Plans A & B

As a result, it is up to Cooper and the rest of the Endurance crew to uncover the fate of the other three astronauts – and collect any subsequent data that can be used to make an informed decision regarding which planet provides the best hope for humanity.

Should the Endurance team find a habitable planet, Brand claims that NASA has two plans for humanity’s survival:

Plan A) While the Endurance team is away, Brand will continue to work on an advanced equation that, if solved, will allow humans to harness fifth-dimensional physics, specifically gravity. Should Brand succeed, NASA will be able to defy our traditional understanding of physics and launch an enormous space station (carrying the remainder of Earth’s surviving population) into space. The very facility that Cooper and Murph stumble upon at the beginning of the film isn’t just a NASA research station, it’s a construction site for humankind’s space-traveling ark.

Plan B) Should Brand fail in his calculation and/or the Endurance takes too much time investigating potential home worlds, NASA has harvested a bank of fertilized human embryos that can be used to ensure humanity’s survival, after everyone on Earth is wiped out. To ensure genetic diversity, NASA procured DNA from a wide range of sources, so that future generations would not be limited to reproduction between Endurance crew members. In this scenario, the Endurance team would settle down on the most habitable planet and raise the first generation of embryos, with each subsequent generation helping to raise a new set of embryos (as well as reproduce naturally).

Brand's Lie

Alfred....why???
Alfred....why???

Once through, Endurance follow the signal left by Miller's expedition, but quickly encounter a problem: the candidate planet is in close proximity to Gargantua, a nearby black hole, and due to its gravitational pull, time on the planet is slower than on Earth. They discover that the planet is inhospitable as giant tidal waves race across its surface. Doyle is killed and the landing shuttle inundated with water as the crew attempt to retrieve Miller's probe, and they return to Endurance to discover that twenty-three years have passed at the Mothership.

Back on Earth, Murph is now an adult (Jessica Chastain) and has joined NASA where she attempts to solve a physics problem that has troubled Brand for years: the question of how humans can escape the Earth's gravitational pull en masse.

Brand's health deteriorates and he admits that he solved the necessary equation decades beforehand, but realized that he needed data from a singularity behind a black hole to complete it. We learn that Professor Brand never believed that Plan A was possible, stating that he solved the equation years back, but it would not save them. He only championed the idea in order to rally Earth leaders into working together – and building the necessary infrastructure to ensure that, unknown to anyone but him, Plan B would be a success. Brand reasoned that people would not have cooperated just to save humanity, they needed to believe that working together could lead to their own personal salvation.

And out comes Matt Damon...

Matt Damon from the side in Interstellar
Matt Damon from the side in Interstellar

Around the two hour mark in Interstellar, a lengthy mission to retrieve Miller's data having consumed valuable resources, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway's characters, in search of a habitable planet to save mankind, land on a foreign planet covered in ice where another astronaut, Dr. Mann, has been stranded for an undetermined amount of time. Lengthy mission to retrieve Miller's data having consumed valuable resources, Endurance is forced to choose between following Mann or Edmunds. Cooper and Amelia clash, with Cooper accuses her of being compromised by her emotional attachment to Edmunds; Amelia counter-accuses Cooper of being compromised by his desire to see his family again as Endurance can reach both planets if they give up on returning to earth.

The crew seeks out Mann, finding him in stasis on an icy, ammonia-saturated planet and revive him.

Up until this point, viewers know little about the mysterious Dr. Mann other than he's a supposedly brave astronaut who set off on a similar mission in the past.

When Cooper and Brand come across Mann, he's sealed in a cryogenic hibernation pod. As they awake him, you have a feeling it's about to be a huge actor reveal.

Sitting up, staring us straight in the face is Matt Damon.

What??

This won’t be a surprise to everyone. The Playlist reported back in summer 2013 that Damon joined the cast in a small, secret role; however, no one really made a big deal out of it.

Damon's role is so secretive that he isn't mentioned anywhere in Paramount's lengthy production notes for the film handed out to press at screenings. In fact, he's listed as an uncredited actor in the film.

It's surprising more people haven't been discussing it online yet, because if you've steered clear of trailers and news, you'll be genuinely shocked. It's surely one thing people will be talking about after seeing the film.

Back to the Plot: However, Mann has forged the data about the viability of his planet so the Endurance would come and find him, allowing him to steal their spacecraft and return to Earth. Mann murders Rommily and attempts to kill Cooper before fleeing to Endurance with the shuttle. Amelia saves Cooper and the two give chase, arriving in time to see Mann attempt an improper docking procedure with Endurance, killing himself as the airlock depressurizes. Cooper is able to dock with Endurance and get the vessel back under control.

Cooper and Amelia formulate a plan to pilot Endurance to Gargantua's event horizon and jettison TARS into it to gather data on the singularity behind the black hole to transmit it back to them, and slingshot themselves on a course to Edmunds' planet. Cooper releases his spacecraft into Gargantua, allowing Amelia to escape the gravitational pull. He ejects before his craft is destroyed, and comes to a halt in an extra-dimensional space where time is not linear.

Now the most controversial aspect regarding Interstellar, the concept of "They"

Cooper and the other NASA scientists assume “They” are an advanced extraterrestrial (or supernatural) race who have unlocked the mysteries of dimensional manipulation - and, for some unknown reason, decided to aid mankind in escaping our doomed planet. The NASA team believes that the beings may be unable (or unwilling) to communicate directly with humans – specifically that “They” are fifth-dimensional, having transcended our three-dimensional ways of understanding the universe. Brand thinks “They” have laid out a series of rudimentary bread crumbs (binary messages) and advanced technology (the wormhole) for humans to follow – in order to save ourselves from annihilation.

However, as revealed in Interstellar‘s final act, what NASA postulated was a single alien race is actually two separate but related entities:

  • Future humans who have mastered the laws of our universe - allowing them to manipulate time and space.
  • Cooper attempting to communicate with his daughter inside the “Tesseract”, which was built for him by the future humans.

As a result, most of the unexplained phenomena that NASA attributes to the beings are actually actions that Cooper will take in the future (as we follow him through the film). When Cooper sacrifices himself to ensure Plan B, he is caught in the black hole’s gravitational pull, but, instead of dying, ejects from his ship – landing, as previously mentioned, inside The Tesseract (aka the wormhole’s gravitational singularity). A place where the laws of space and time become infinite.

As a result, most of the unexplained phenomena that NASA attributes to the beings are actually actions that Cooper takes in the future (as we follow him through the film). When Cooper sacrifices himself to ensure Plan B, he is caught in the black hole’s gravitational pull, but, instead of dying, ejects from his ship – landing, as previously mentioned, inside The Tesseract (aka the wormhole’s gravitational singularity). A place where the laws of space and time become infinite.

Cooper realizes the extra-dimensional beings are in fact a future form of humanity who have evolved to the point of transcending time and space, and have come back in time to create the wormhole to ensure humanity's survival. Now equipped with TARS' data on the singularity, Cooper is able to communicate with Murph across the dimensional barrier through gravitational waves, making him the "ghost" from her childhood. With this information, Murph is able to complete Brand's equation, allowing the Earth's population to be evacuated.

Knowing their own past – specifically the events that led to their salvation (and exodus from Earth) – it was in fact, humans who built the Tesseract at some point far in the future and then, using their advanced knowledge of fifth-dimensional physics, manipulated space-time to place the machine into the past (where NASA finds it orbiting Saturn).

Since Cooper and Murph are remembered as the saviors of humanity, the fifth-dimensional humans, who can observe past, present, and future – custom-build The Tesseract for Cooper, so that he can communicate with his daughter in the past and relay the data that TARS (the quadrilateral shaped robot) had collected inside the singularity.

To that end, the Tesseract is a filter that translates the fifth dimension into three-dimensional visibility (tuned to Murph’s room), allowing Cooper to visit his daughter at any point in time (and “shake” Amelia’s hand during the initial launch).

His mission now complete, Cooper is released back into the Solar System through the wormhole where he is picked up by a NASA ship. He awakens aboard the NASA station, which is now serving as a waypoint to marshal the remainder of humanity to cross the wormhole, and is finally reunited with Murph, who is now an elderly woman. After saying good-bye to her one last time, he steals a NASA ship and enters the wormhole, searching for Amelia, who has located Edmunds' expedition and with it, a planet that can sustain life.

***P.S. The INTERSTELLAR website, made by Google, is freaking awesome!***

Random Interstellar Fan Posters I Liked Intermission:

Interstellar fan poster by Daniel Nash
Interstellar fan poster by Daniel Nash
Fan Poster Harlan Ela
Fan Poster Harlan Ela
Fan Poster by Doaly
Fan Poster by Doaly
Fan Poster Ben McLeod
Fan Poster Ben McLeod
Fan Poster Richard Davies
Fan Poster Richard Davies
Fan Art Poster
Fan Art Poster
Trippy Fan Art Poster
Trippy Fan Art Poster

Time/Space Relativity Explained

Interstellar is based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorn, especially the notion that while we observe the universe in three dimensions, there could be at least five dimensions. In certain theories, it is posited that certain forces (in this case gravity) bleed through dimensions, meaning that, based on Newton’s Laws, what we perceive as a finite calculation could actually have infinite implications.

The concept is outright exemplified in the first planet that the Endurance team visits. In general, time on our side of the wormhole moves faster than time on the uncharted side. Due to close proximity with gravitational anomalies from a nearby black hole (Garguntua), time on the other side is exponentially slower, relative to the distance between an object and the black hole’s gravitational pull. As a result, time on Miller’s planet moves significantly slower: for every hour that the team spends on the water planet, seven years pass back home, a primary reason that Cooper is motivated to get off the planet as soon as possible (even before they realize it’s a death trap). Cooper knows that three hours on the planet’s surface will cost him decades of time with his family.

As Amelia suggests, the effect of gravity from the black hole of time was to blame for the Endurance team’s unfortunate visit to Miller’s planet in the first place, since what they perceived as years of positive beacon readings were actually mere minutes from Miller (who was killed by a wave moments after she landed).

The concept is further hammered home when, following the mission, Amelia and Cooper reunite with Romilly, who stayed behind on the Endurance to gather data (far from Gargantua) and, in the three hours his team was gone, has lived twenty-three full years alone without them. Similarly, the crew receives video messages from back home and we see that Cooper’s children, Tom and Murph have also argued, now fully grown adults (played by Casey Affleck and Jessica Chastain, respectively).

As the team moves farther from the black hole, the disproportion in space-time reduces, meaning that when they arrive at the Mann’s planet, there’s a significantly less urgency (though the once brave astronaut has been twisted by his longest stretch of time alone).

A tangible effect of gravity on space-time is also responsible for Cooper’s ability to communicate with young Murph when inside the Tesseract. Inside the machine, gravity bleeds through to other dimensions in time and space, allowing Cooper to spell out a message (“S-T-A-Y”) by pushing books off of Murph’s shelf, or communicate map coordinates to the past version of himself by spreading dust across the floor (in binary language). Most importantly, the fifth-dimensional communication through gravity (made visible by three-dimensional objects back on Earth) enables Cooper to gently manipulate the hands on Murph’s watch – transferring the data that TARS acquired with morse coded watch ticks. Subsequently, translating that coded data gives Murph all the information she needs to drastically advance humanity’s understanding of space and time – as well as complete Plan A.

As for how Cooper survives his time inside the Tesseract, and how he intends to reunite with Amelia? Nolan simply reapplies the same theory that has been present the entire film. Given that time moves slower near the gravity pull of the black hole, Cooper’s ejection from the Tesseract is only seconds for him, but over half a century for the rest of humanity. Keep in mind, if the ratio of time on Miller’s planet was 1 hour for every 7 years on Earth, the proportion would be skewed exponentially at the absolute center of the Tesseract singularity. As a result, while it appears to Earthbound humans that TARS and Cooper have been floating out in space for nearly ninety years, they were actually only out there for mere seconds as they perceived it.

The disproportionate relativity allows Cooper to survive and reunite with Murph – who, living on the faster moving side of the wormhole, is now over one-hundred years old. Knowing that Cooper has nothing left to live for in a post-Earth existence (since his son Tom is presumed dead and Murph will soon join him), Murph remembers her father that, through the wormhole, Amelia is just beginning to set-up Plan B on Edmonds’ planet. At the same time, it is revealed that even though Edmonds’ planet is actually habitable, the astronaut himself did not survive the landing, leaving Amelia alone at the colonization site.

Using a reversal of the film’s primary relativity theory, Cooper hops into a ship, with the knowledge that even though nearly one hundred years have passed since the Endurance first set out, time on the other side of the wormhole is moving much slower, meaning that a second trip should allow him to reunite with Amelia on Edmonds’ planet only a short time after Cooper first sacrificed himself and dropped into the singularity. We don’t actually see the reunion, so Cooper’s actual fate is left up to some interpretation, but there’s reason to be optimistic that he reaches Amelia and helps ready the colony for humankind.

Video: Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).

Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 10:02 EST aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC. The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the rover's touchdown target after a 563,000,000 km (350,000,000 mi) journey.

The rover's goals include: investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.

Curiosity 's design will serve as the basis for a planned Mars 2020 rover mission. In December 2012, Curiosity 's two-year mission was extended indefinitely

On June 24, 2014, Curiosity completed a Martian year—687 Earth days—after finding that Mars once had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Video: On October 31, 2014, VSS Enterprise, a Virgin Galactic Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo experimental space flight test vehicle, suffered a catastrophic in-flight breakup and crashed in the Mojave Desert, California, United States while performing a test flight. The co-pilot was killed and the pilot was seriously injured.

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